52 Ancestors II, Week 68: Michael Greenlee

Ballycastle, in Northern Ireland, this tiny bridge is used to reach the island of Carrickarede.
Photo by Jessica Knowlden

Michael Greenlee, Sr was born about 1700 probably in Ulster, Northern Ireland.

He married twice, his first wife’s name is unknown.  They had 7 children together. We are related to their youngest Michael (Jr). She died (around 1759, perhaps in childbirth).

Michael (Sr) (with 7 young children), married a second time (before November 26, 1761), Esther Davis who was born about 1740, daughter of John Davis. They had four children, and we are also related to their youngest child Allen.

The Greenlee twin brothers wrote this biography (in 1908) about their great grandfather:

"Michael Greenlee purchased land in Kent County, Delaware as early as 1754; but the following, related by Edmund Greenlee (the barrel-maker), as told him by his father (the man with the bad back), shows that he must have settled in Delaware many years before. 'My Grandfather Greenlee came from Ireland at the age of about 14 years, had no Irish brogue on his tongue, settled in Delaware near the Maryland Line; his first wife's name unknown; had children by her; I do not remember hearing the age at which Grandfather married his first wife, but at the time of his second marriage he was 60 years of age. I do not know his second wife's given name or maiden name but she was 19 years of age when they were married. Grandfather at 60 years of age was very strong and active; is said to have taken a hog after it had been killed weighing 200 lbs. by the bristles and lifted it from the ground with one hand, and could jump up and strike his feet together twice before touching the ground. He was by occupation a farmer.'” (1)

Michael (88) died in Kent County, Delaware (will dated November 8, 1788; proved January 2, 1789);

Esther (51) died about 1796.

(1) Greenlee Genealogy, by Ralph Stebbins Greenlee and Robert Lemuel Greenlee (Edmund’s and Mary’s  twin sons), self published in 1908 in Chicago.


  1. I wonder when Michael came from Ireland at age 14 was he alone? Marrying a 19 year old at age 60 and having four more children sounds exhausting to me but more power to him. He must have been an amazing physical specimen.


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